Crop Walk 2015 003
Time still remaining to help BCU hit $10,000 goal.

Bethel Churches United hosted their annual CROP Walk on Sunday afternoon, with 62 walkers registered to participate. The walk originated at New Carlisle Church of the Brethren and looped around the city, with proceeds going to hunger-related charities both local and around the world.

BCU aims to raise $10,000 almost each year, and achieved their goal last year for the first time. Larry Fry of Bethel Churches United said although the CROP Walk itself is the centerpiece of the fundraiser, that the churches will continue to accept donations until the official deadline on October 31. So far, through walk sponsorships and online donations, they have raised just over $7,000, which is right where they were this time last year, according to Fry, who said that they really had to work hard to hit $10,000.

Carol Dutton is always an active participant in the annual event, donning her “Coco The Clown” suit and rallying the crowd. Before Sunday’s walk began, Dutton spoke to the walkers about the origin of the church’s involvement with CROP Walk.

Dutton said that Wilmer Funderburgh was the founder of New Carlisle’s participation in CROP Walk, noting that he was also a member of New Carlisle Church of the Brethren. She showed a picture of Funderburgh at one of the first CROP Walks in New Carlisle, dated 1954.

“Something has been done each year since then to help our community as well as people around the world,” she said, adding that CROP Walk was created by Church World Service in 1946 as a way to assist those whose lives had been affected by World War II.

Dutton said she did some digging and found that records for New Carlisle’s CROP Walk only went back to 1979, but noted that since then, the community has raised $144,673 to help needy families across the globe and in our own community, stressing that 25 percent of funds raised here stay in New Carlisle for the food pantry.

New Carlisle Church of the Brethren Pastor Andrew Wright said it was interesting to note that a group of men dubbed the “Sea-Going Cowboys” was comprised of many young men from Clark County, including Wilmer Funderburgh. Wright said that these cowboys gathered up as many tractors, heifers, and other pieces of farming equipment as they could get their hands on, and transported the items to Poland in order to help the war-torn country rebuild in the wake of World War II. He said the cowboys were forced to travel through U-Boat-laden waters as they neared the other side of the Atlantic, and that they always wrapped the hooves of their livestock with cloths, shirts, towels, and anything else that would quiet the sound of the hooves on metal so that the U-Boats would not hear them. Wright said that every single Sea-Going Cowboy ship made it to Poland and back without being sunk.

Any interested donors may visit and click the ‘Donate’ tab, then search for the New Carlisle, Ohio CROP Walk and follow the prompts to make a contribution. Checks may also be mailed to: Bethel Churches United. PO Box 370. New Carlisle, OH 45344. Questions may be directed to Larry Fry at 937-849-6127. Deadline to donate is October 31, 2015.